News Releases

CDCR Announces 20-year Agreements for Solar Power Plants at Five Prisons

Nearly 1 billion kilowatt-hours of solar-generated power will offset morethan1 billion pounds of carbon dioxide over 20 years — that’s equivalent to powering more than 89,000 homes and removing more than 90,000 cars from the road

SACRAMENTO — The California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR) today announced five renewable-energy agreements to add nearly 23 megawatts of on-site solar-generated power at Chuckawalla Valley State Prison and Ironwood State Prison in Blythe, California Correctional Institution in Tehachapi, North Kern State Prison in Delano, and California State Prison, Los Angeles County, in Lancaster. The expansion is anticipated to save taxpayers more than $55 million over the life of the contracts. Construction and maintenance will be arranged by SunEdison, using no state General Fund tax dollars. The costs of the projects are further reduced by incentive dollars from California Investor Owned Utilities, through the California Solar Initiative Program, which is administered by the California Public Utilities Commission.

“These projects demonstrate our continued commitment to reducing operational costs,” said CDCR Secretary Matthew Cate. “The energy-conservation strategy we have been pursuing for many years is starting to pay big dividends at a time when there are competing priorities for limited state resources.”

On April 12, 2011, Governor Edmund G. Brown, Jr. signed SBX1 2, which requires one-third of the state’s electricity to come from renewable sources. The legislation increases California’s current 20 percent renewables portfolio standard target in 2010 to a 33 percent renewables portfolio standard by December 31, 2020. CDCR’s solar power projects will help the state to achieve this goal.

Chuckawalla Valley and Ironwood state prisons were the first CDCR facilities to receive solar-generating systems, each currently operating a 1-megawatt photovoltaic array with approximately 6,400 solar panels total. The systems were constructed in 2006 and 2008 respectively, and when brought on line, were the largest solar installations at any prison system in the United States, providing nearly 25 percent of the prisons’ total electrical demand.

The new projects will add more than 83,000 solar panels on the grounds of the five prisons with construction expected to begin in 2012. The environmental attributes of the systems, which may be sold to one or more third parties to help finance installation of the solar systems, will offset almost 1 billion pounds of carbon dioxide over the 20 year contract term—the equivalent of taking nearly 90,000 cars off the road for a year.

These projects are managed by CDCR’s Energy Management and Sustainability Section, part of the Facility Planning, Construction and Management Division.

CDCR Solar Power:

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MAY 6, 2011

PAUL VERKE (916) 445-4950